There comes a point in the semester when eating out on campus and on the Drag gets pretty repetitive and boring, and that time is usually about three to five weeks into the semester.
Okay yeah, food around here is pretty cheap, but there is cheaper (and better) food in areas surrounding outside of campus — the trick is knowing where to go. So it’s time to do some food exploring. For only $25, you can score three delicious Austin-y meals.
If you’re feeling a little adventurous, grab your friends, your appetite and $25 and head out to these three awesome Austin food joints.
By Megan Prendergast
Breakfast: Juan In A Million
Over 30 years ago, Juan Meza opened the doors to his Tex-Mex restaurant, and the menu has hardly changed since. Juan In A Million serves up Tex-Mex classics such as fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, burritos, chalupas and breakfast plates, which are served all day, so it’s okay if y’all want to sleep in for a little longer.
And who can really say no to all day breakfast… especially when it’s Tex-Mex breakfast. But, there is one taco on the breakfast menu that you have to order. It’s become slightly famous around the Austin area. “Order the Don Juan [El Taco Grande],” senior Arizona Dabrusin says. “Seriously. It’s huge and so good.”
The Don Juan El Taco Grande is a delicious combination of potato, egg, bacon and cheese served inside a hot tortilla. And yes, one will definitely be enough.
Total: $5.75, including tax and tip
Lunch: Szechuan House
If you thought Austin didn’t have any good Chinese restaurants, you would be dead wrong. Because Austin has one good Chinese restaurant: Szechuan House.
The lunch specials at Szechuan House are straight up ridiculous. For less than $10 you can choose from a selection of authentic Chinese dishes such as Hunan beef and sesame chicken. All of the lunch specials are served with your choice of fried rice, steamed rice or brown rice, an egg roll and your choice of soup — hot and sour soup, wonton soup or egg drop soup. Talk about a killer deal.
According to student Reece Poth, the General Tso’s chicken lunch special with fried rice and egg drop soup is the way to go, but really I don’t think you can go wrong with anything here. “Though the General Tso’s chicken is listed as a spicy dish, it’s not all that spicy, but it’s still very good,” Poth says. “The fried rice is pretty basic, so it mixes great with the [General Tso’s] sauce, broccoli and chicken, which is lightly battered. And the chicken batter isn’t heavy and gross like many American takes on this dish. Oh, and the egg drop soup tastes great with a few dashes of soy sauce.”
Poth claims the dish leaves him in a food coma. “It’s so much food, but that doesn’t stop me from finishing it.”
Total: $9.50, including tax and tip
Dinner: Sandy’s Hamburgers
Sandy’s Hamburgers is an Austin classic. The burger joint serves up some of the best burgers in Austin. Oh, and the custard is pretty great too. “The double meat with cheese, fries and a coke always hit the spot,” junior Evan Luza says. “It never disappoints.”
The burger comes with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mustard, two patties and melted cheese — it’s a winner. And if you eat at Sandy’s on Thursday or Saturday, the combo is only $5, compared to about $7. But I mean, $7 is still an awesome deal.
And you cannot forget dessert, a frozen custard cone. It might be the most important part of the meal. “You have to order a frozen custard cone,” Luza says. “It’s really the only way to finish off a meal at Sandy’s. It is simple, but super good.”
Total: $9.75, including tax and tip (or $8.00 on Thursday and Saturday)
Your Grand Total: $25.00, including tax and tip
Next time you need to grab a cheap meal, venture outside campus and check out one of these spots. Your stomach and wallet will seriously thank you. So what are y’all waiting for?